Today's the day! The crowdfunding for Sue Van Hattum's book Playing with Math opens up. I'm excited about the book, proud to be part of it in a little way and so happy for her.
If there's one phrase that captures my approach to mathematics learning and teaching, it's 'playing with math.' So I'm really cheesed that Sue has stolen this title for memoirs... wait. That's not where I was going with this. Besides, the full title is Playing With Math: Stories from Math Circles, Homeschoolers, and Passionate Teachers
I didn't meet Sue until after she had moved away from here (West Michigan), but got to know her via what is now the Math-Twitter-Blogosphere, and then in real life on one of her return visits. In this book she has gathered together many of my favorite aspects of the math community and culture, plus more that I have yet to know. I got to be a realatively early reader of the manuscript (found a v1 file on my computer!), and have seen it start good and get better from there. This is going to be an amazing resource. Her philosophy in building the book was very much about building a community, sharing the people and math of which she is so fond with you. I think you'll find it intriguing, entertaining and helpful. Bloggers, math circles, living math forum... Sue is great at connecting people.
I'm a great believer that teachers get better through conversation, and every piece in this comes across as powerful teacher or learner sharing. It's a rare anthology where you feel like you wouldn't cut a thing, but this is one of those. The pieces I have returned to more than once already include Bob and Ellen Kaplan's reflection on a prison math circle, Maria Droujkova's rejoicing in confusion, Malke Rosenfeld's mapping the territory, and Allisson Cuttler's putting herself in her students' shoes. And... it could easily become the table of contents. In editing, Sue worked hard to preserve the author's voice, make the book very inclusive of student and teacher diversity, and to represent each of her three communities.
Nix the Tricks and Moebius Noodles are both great examples of books that are from and for the math community, and this is a great next step. Please consider supporting it; I think you'll be glad you did.
Some other resources, reviews and comments: